3 Ways to De-Clutter Your Kids' Rooms

Christine Pafumi
March 12, 2013

One mom shares tips on cleaning and organizing kids' rooms as part of the Care.com Interview Series

Cleaning and organization does not come easily for Dana White, or "Nony," as she is known to her readers. That's why the blogger of A Slob Comes Clean tackles the subject the way her mind works. White suffers from what she calls "slob vision"; for example, if you don't notice a pile of groceries your child has left on the floor for days, you might just have slob vision. White gets down and dirty with Care.com about the inner workings of a slob coming clean.

De-cluttering is key, especially for someone who has trouble organizing, and although kids' rooms are sometimes out of sight, out of mind, they must be dealt with on a regular basis. Here are her tips on keeping up with those kids' rooms:

1. Minimize Stuff on a Schedule
White lives by a schedule of regular de-cluttering - it helps keep things under control. "The less stuff we have in the kids' rooms, the easier it is for them to put things back in order on their own," she notes.

2. Don't Ignore Kids' Rooms
White makes a point to check her kids' rooms regularly. "My kids' rooms are a problem because I don't HAVE to go in them," she says. "I can close the door and ignore them way too easily.... my kids' rooms are a constant struggle."

3. Purge, Purge, Purge
The kids' playroom was (literally) knee-deep in clutter before White started her blog. She started purging the playroom a little bit at a time. "I've personally realized that it isn't possible for me to keep an over-abundance of stuff in order, and it isn't possible for my kids either," she says.

Read more of Dana's struggle to keep her house in order in our full interview below.

Tell us about your family and your blog.

I'm a mom of three crazy kids, ages 6, 9 and 11. I began my blog (anonymously) as a way to keep myself focused on getting my home in order. Our house was a disaster. I'd tried every "method" out there, but I could never make any progress that lasted more than a few weeks. I call my blog the completely honest account of my "de-slobification process." I share cleaning and organizing strategies that actually work. And I'm funny.

What is the golden rule of cleaning and organizing in your home?

We come up with methods that work for us. I've realized (and accepted) that my brain doesn't work the way an organized person's brain works. And organized people are the ones giving most of the organizing advice! Realizing that I'm different has allowed me to come up with ways to make our home function that work for MY brain. In OUR home.

When it comes to your kitchen, what role do your kids play in helping to organize and clean?

We have implemented a "Family Kitchen Clean Up Time" in the last few months. My kids are all old enough to do most kitchen tasks, so we let them do their favorites. My six-year-old makes lunches for the next day, my nine-year-old wipes down the counters and sweeps, and my eleven-year-old loads the dishwasher.

I was a little nervous about starting this new routine because I had NEVER been consistent about having the kids help in the kitchen. I was so encouraged, though, to see that they retained what I had taught them in fits and spurts. Even though I wasn't consistent, I had taught them cleaning skills so they were able to step right into making this a routine.

For more advice on getting your kids involved in cleanup, check out 5 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Do Chores »

Do you ever incentivize your children to help out? How do you get your kids involved in home organization?

I definitely incentivize my kids with their chores. It's really not a matter of finding a way to motivate them (I don't mind telling them to get up and get busy), but it's more about motivating them to remember to stay on top of chores even when I forget to direct them. I'm scatter-brained and often forget to do our routine when life gets busy, so giving them a reason to want to remember without being told helps me out!

Has there ever been a time when your kids were trying to help and it ended up being anything BUT helpful?

I recently asked my 11-year-old to put away the groceries. He did. Sort of. He built a tower on the floor just outside the pantry. Technically, a few items did make it onto the shelves, but most just created a staircase leading up to it. The worst part? I didn't even notice for two days! My kids get away with things because of my Slob Vision!

If you could give other parents one tip about getting your kids to help out, what would it be?

Be an example. My kids have seen me de-clutter my own stuff, and they've experienced the benefits! Our home is more livable with less stuff in it. As it has become normal to "take it to the Donate Spot," they have learned to be realistic about their own stuff and identify what they really or don't need. Living a lifestyle of de-cluttering is now a family thing for us, and it has become easier for all of us to get rid of stuff!

For more helpful cleaning tips, check out the Care.com Interview Series: How to Clean and Organize Your Home from Top to Bottom »

Dana White ("Nony") is the honest and humorous writer behind the popular blog, A Slob Comes Clean. She starting writing about cleaning and organizing, including her own "de-slobification" process, in the hopes that others would know they were not alone in their housekeeping struggles. You can also find Dana on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo used with permission from Dana White.

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